TREE POSE (VRKSASANA)
This is a great balancing pose that builds strength in the lower part of the body and teaches focus and concentration
I love tree pose during a yoga class because it is a time to find balance and stillness. Although balancing poses are deceiving, and it takes a lot of muscle engagement to be still. I like this pose for a few reasons because it:
• Improves balance.
• Engages the lower body.
• Can be calming and relaxing.
I always remind people to root one foot on the ground and then lift the other leg, placing that foot above or below the knee of the grounding leg. I often see people want to have their lifted foot up high on the thigh but then let the foot slip onto the knee. That can put pressure on the ground leg knee and cause the knee joint to destabilise leading to knee injury.
I like helping people find balance in this pose. I remind everyone that if you step out, just come back into the pose when you are ready. Be gentle on yourself in this pose. Here are my tips when instructing:
• Ground one foot on the mat and imagine sending roots down into the earth from that foot.
• Slowly start to lift the other foot, shifting weight into the grounded foot.
• Bring the bottom of your lifted foot up to rest on the ground leg, above or below your knee.
• Bring hands to prayer pose and find your ‘Drishti’ or focal point. Focus somewhere a few feet in front of you and use this to find balance.
• Breathe, even breath in and even breath out.
• If you are feeling good you can stay there or you can grow your branches, raising your arms overhead.
• The next level of balance poses is to try and close your eyes while you balance.
This pose teaches us balance in a very organic way. We learn to be resilient as we sway and find balance like trees swaying in the wind. Trees cannot be too rigid, or their branches will break. In this pose we may move and sway, but we continue to work toward balance. I also love the idea of sending roots into the ground then growing branches. It reminds me that to grow, I must first ground myself.
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